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Black Panther Review Articles 2

February 19 2018, 4:20pm


                                              Contains spoilers Erik Killmonger is a complex individual that we cannot bring ourselves to fully hate. Probably because deep down those of us who are black and American understand exactly where he comes from. Erik is played by Michael B Jordan and honestly the man did an amazing fucking job. Erik is an intense character, he literally vibrates with anger, his body is always tense even the way he talks because he carries that shit with him with every step. I’m reminded of the quote that went - ‘To be black in America is to be angry’’ and Erik exudes that quote through every pore of his being. “How do you think your ancestors got these? You think they paid a full price for them? Or did they take them like they took everything else?” When we’re first introduced to Erik as an adult it’s in a gallery of artifacts and we see exactly who he is and what he stands for and in part why that anger is there. The important line in the scene is when he tells the white woman that she’s had people watching him from the moment he’s came in the door and reminds her exactly how her people got all those artifacts to display while she’s so worried about him. This is important for two reasons - because it’s the black voice speaking on the audacity of white people to present us as the thieves and criminals of the world when all they’ve done is taken and stolen from others. But it also highlights that while Eriks anger is justifiable - he doesn’t mind being his enemy (mimicking the actions he finds so disgusting in them) to defeat his enemy and that’s where his problem lies. In Erik’s mind he’s doing the right thing. He is there to liberate his people. He is there to do the things they lacked, fix the weakness in them. In the past as a child when his father told him - they will call you lost and he replied ‘maybe they’re lost’ - is the foundation of his whole thinking. Wakanda let him down, they let other people down, and he’s gonna mend their flaws. “I waited my entire life for this. The world’s going to start over, and we’re going to be on top!” The problem we’re told many times that Erik is the ‘white man’ - the monster he’s trying to vanquish he himself has become. The white guy states that he’s one of theirs (he meant law - but it’s a line they intentionally had him say in that way). Another quote of you’ll just become them - and this is not OUR way. Erik himself stood on the challenge ground and listed all the wars he’s fought for the enemy just to prepare himself for that moment. We see him work with the enemy so he can backstab to get to where he needs to be. See him kill innocent people…all to get what it is HE wants. He uses the tactics taught to him by his enemy. And most importantly he does not hesitate to rip upon the bonds of his own people for this war. He wanted revenge - the ones that were supposed to be his people left him forsaken. “I want the throne. I want your weapons, your secrets. its all mine now.”  We can’t condemn Erik because as black people, as empathic people, as people who live this life, we understand him because we too are a very, are disenfranchised, are frustrated with this lifestyle and the ties that bind us. Because we want for our people but salvation doesn’t seem an attainable thing. Because sometimes in the silence we wonder if fighting back and raging in war should not be an option. It’s difficult to choose whose really right between Erik and T'Challa because to be black is to sometimes feel like both men. Both men are intelligent, warrior trained men who want good for their people. the movie intentional highlights their similarities - showing their journey with their fathers that made them who they were. They didn’t unnecessarily Harden him beyond limitations - in fact his response to his fathers death as a boy was to represent the harsh realities that some have to live with in parts of the world while showing exactly who Erik was as an adult as he cried for his father and their displacement.   Most of us have walked more closely in Erik’s shoes. His people were not just Wakandan but those who had been led outside its walls.  We live surrounded by people who see us as beneath them, who have made us public enemy, who decide our lives are worth nothing. It’s easy for T'Challa to be diplomatic even while he mistrust the whites because he can go home back to where he’s surrounded by his people where they thrive together. Erik never had that escape, he never found a outlet, instead the anger festered inside him, it because his only focus. The lesson with Erik however is the  dangers of becoming those you’re trying to liberate oneself from. Even as we are oppressed people, we cannot become the thing that oppresses us to free ourselves. We cannot judge if we are willing to seek the same action as those who do us wrong. We never hinder our own people in the sake of them. T'Challa didn’t hate Erik. He hated the circumstances that created Erik. He stood as a lesson for T'Challa and his people…those within their walls weren’t their only people. There were many of their people who were in need, many that they were forsaking.  We’re not supposed to hate Erik. He stands as lesson for us. Be vigilant for your people but careful in the measures you’re willing to go. In the end he is on Wakanda land and yet he speaks of those who were dragged from the motherland. Erik like many of us are African descent but we are also American and sometimes that sir can feel like being an outsider, walking a fine line. But we are one people…there’s no us and them in reality. Some forgot that, some never learned that - so we should being thanking Erik not hating him. “I learned from my enemies. Beat them at their own game.” The Casting: Yoooooo! Michael B Jordan did THAT and then some! He matched this characters intensity pound for fucking pound. I’ve seen people clown this man for another superpower character he’s played acting like he could never live it down and every project this man has down since has done nothing but put up. He looked the part, he rocked the acting, and he seemed to hate every single one of their asses even though he’s pretty tight with the cast members. Like everyone else he went in with the goal in mind. If they don’t all win something I’m frankly going to be pissed.